International Financial Aid

A Columbia education is possible for students from all socioeconomic backgrounds, including international students. Columbia is committed to meeting 100% of the demonstrated need of all admitted first-year students, regardless of citizenship. International students apply for and receive a substantial amount of financial aid every year, with international financial aid totaling over $19 million for the 2022-2023 academic year.

International Admissions and Financial Aid

The Columbia admissions process is largely the same for all students, regardless of citizenship and residency, but international students are evaluated in a need-aware manner. For financial aid purposes, students who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States, do not have refugee visas or asylum status, and are not undocumented or DACA recipients are considered international. This means that the admissions committee considers how much financial aid a student requires when evaluating an application. All financial aid at Columbia is need-based, and there are no merit scholarships awarded for academics, athletics or other talents.


$215 million

awarded in financial aid grants in 2022-2023


$19 million

awarded in international financial aid



average financial aid grants and scholarships for first-year students



largest international student population of any U.S. university

Need-Based Financial Aid

For admitted international students, Columbia will meet 100% of a family's demonstrated need, based on the information provided in the financial aid application. The average award for international financial aid recipients is $79,375, usually encompassing a Columbia grant, which does not have to be repaid, and a student work-study job. Columbia does not include loans in financial aid packages, and as international students are not eligible for federal student aid, Columbia will meet all international financial aid with institutional resources.

International applicants must indicate their plan to apply for financial aid when submitting their admission application. If admitted without requesting financial aid, international students may not change their status to apply for aid, even if their financial circumstances change. International financial aid cannot be awarded in subsequent years if not awarded at the time of admission.

Is there a different application for international students?

Columbia’s admissions application process is largely the same for all students, regardless of their citizenship or country of residence. Please see our Application Instructions for more information on procedures and requirements, and Understanding the Process for details on how our office reviews applications and distinguishes candidates.

Please visit International Applicants for more information on school curricula and English language proficiency requirements.

I'm an United States citizen studying in another country. Am I considered an international applicant?

United States citizens are considered domestic applicants for the purpose of financial aid, and, as such, are always reviewed in a need-blind manner. However, all applicants are considered within both the context of their secondary school and the context of their personal experiences, including where they have lived and their cultural background. The Committee on Admissions recognizes that regardless of citizenship, living and/or attending school in a country outside the United States provides a student with the opportunity for an international experience. As a result, applicants are not simply placed into international or domestic categories based on citizenship or place of schooling during the application review process beyond need-blind or need-aware review.

Are international students allowed to apply Early Decision?

Yes. International students are welcome to apply Early Decision. However, even very competitive international candidates who are applying for financial aid and fall out of the “need-blind” category may be deferred to Regular Decision so the Committee on Admissions can review the entire global applicant pool.

International Financial Aid Resources

Many Columbia students, including international students, receive financial awards from outside organizations, including merit-based scholarships and tuition benefits through employers, government agencies and other sources. Common search engines for international scholarships include International Education Financial Aid and EduPass.

Columbia's Financial Aid and Educational Financing is ready to assist families through the financial aid process, which looks different for everyone. Please visit the Financial Aid website for further information and resources. The Financial Aid staff is also available at +1-212-854-3711 and for questions not answered by the website.

For more specific guidance and broader information about studying in the United States, please contact your local EducationUSA office, supported by the US Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.